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Title: The controller in the digital transformation and globalisation era. The Impact of the e-commerce implementation and running process on the controller's role.
Authors: Manyinga, Antoine-Marie
Keywords: Controller
changing role
technological innovations
Issue Date: 26-Jun-2017
Publisher: Open Universiteit Nederland
Abstract: Empowered by information and innovation, the digital world is rapidly rendering current items, services and a multitude of business archetypes, outdated. Finance and more specifically, the controller, could play an instrumental role in transitioning their organisations to digitally enabled processes. Among other research on the triggers related to the environment of the controller based on technology and ICT developments, we can mention Bromwich and Bhirmani (2009) followed by the Institute of Management Accountants. "The internet has achieved a huge impact, given the availability of computers and network technologies. This trend then paved the way for media and commerce to become electronically interconnected". Bhimani and Bromwich (2009). The IMA (Institute of Management Accountants) has sponsored a research on e-commerce resulting in a statement on management accounting: in the section: Technology enablement, with the title "Understanding and implementing Internet E-commerce." In the declaration mentioned above on management accounting, there is a high expectation that management accountants will fulfil an increasingly partnering role. A role, in the implementation of electronic commerce, in their respective organisations. Upon conducting this study, it appeared to us that e-commerce as a contemporary phenomenon was not yet empirically and meaningfully researched for its potential impact on the controller’s role. We were, therefore, excited to explore to what extent and how the role of the controller is impacted by e-commerce. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore how and to what extent the role of the controller is changing due to changes taking place in the digital environment of the business through the implementation of e-commerce. And more specifically the aim of the study is to examine and understand how the e-commerce implementation does influence the role of the controller. Method: We adopted a case study approach as it was likely to be the most appropriate way to investigate in depth and provide clarifications that can cope with the complexity and subtlety of concrete life situations. It lends itself to the study of processes and relationships within a setting. (Denscombe 2007). And to achieve the research objective, we adopted a multiple-case design. Various cases, whereby e-commerce was implemented in the company for one or more brands. The reason for this approach is the replication logic (Yin 2009) as the multiple case design gives room to replication and substantiation of the findings from comparable cases. Empirical results, findings and analysis: The study revealed that the e-commerce implementation and running process has, somewhat, enhanced the desire for a decision supporting roleplay of the controller. At least from the expectation of the management. There seems to be a shared perception that the changing business environment due to e-commerce requires the controller to develop additional skills. The study has also evidenced that the controllers’ involvement and the business partnering role were associated with the type or style the interviewed controller considers himself to be. When splitting between the strategic decision-making process and the operational decision-making process, none of the controllers was even slightly involved in the strategic one. And most of them were somewhat involved in the second category. Conclusions: Globalisation, technological innovations, and adaptive governmental regulations have prompted changes in the market conditions with a remarkable effect on the undertakings of organisations. The focus of many companies in this dynamic business environment has moved towards addressing customers’ needs and fostering their value generating activities. The Finance and control function has a role to play in pursuing the business challenges and opportunities. The controller is consequently expected to proactively provide and channel accurate information while partnering closely with the management.
Appears in Collections:MSc Management Science

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